This is only one article from 9 years ago (there are many more current articles) and it does not describe the complete incident. Surviving to tell the story turns a life-threatening event into an exciting adventure. I wonder how the "adventure" would have been described if, during the 32 hour ordeal, one or more participants had died?
Turning a near tragedy into an exciting hike is an example of what I now call: "The Mystic Order of the Appalachian Trail" -- whose sole members are those Appalachian Trail hikers who survive life-threatening and risky experiences while hiking the Trail which get translated in their telling into an "heroic and challenging adventure" merely because none of the participants succumbed to any of the many dangerous situations they and the Trail placed them in and who have sworn themselves never to reveal the true dangers and their near-fatal instances while hiking the Trail.
Someone will want to comment that "you could die in your bed or on the Trail; I choose the Trail." Fine and good, but please be considerate of others and do not place your rescuers in danger. If you have a Trail Death Wish, do not carry a "Spot" or satellite phone and do not use your cell-phone when you place yourself in a life-threatening situation or when you injure yourself because you chose to place yourself in harm's way. Calling for help to get yourself out of a predicament on the Appalachian Trail which you chose to place yourself in is the height of Trail Hypocrisy! Take responsibility for hiking the Trail and do not expect others to bail you out because of your lack of adequate gear, planning, preparation, or physical health or ability.
Just because the Trail is "there" and you think you have a "right" to hike it, does not give you permission to take risks and then expect others to rescue you because you choose to "die on the Trail rather than at home." No, you do NOT choose to "die on the Trail!" You choose to have someone, Park Employee, Ranger, Volunteer, Rescue Unit, another hiker, come save you so you can "die at home." Be honest -- or refuse to call for rescue -- do not be a hypocrite!
Quote: The park doesn’t require reimbursement by those rescued. Caverly suggested to the trustees that they might consider it in the future to apply to individuals "who say they have a right to go" hiking in hazardous weather conditions. End Quote.
By Phyllis Austin, Maine Environmental News (www.meepi.org). 10/25/04
Rangers were enroute again by 7 a.m. When they finally located the women, they placed Copeland on a stretcher. The evacuation off the mountain took six hours. Copeland was transported by ambulance to the Millinocket hospital and kept overnight for observation.
The search and rescue efforts were highlighted by park director Buzz Caverly at the October 15 ,meeting of the Park Authority because "it was amazing" to have people in that age category on Katahdin. "Older people decided it was time to conquer Katahdin, without realizing you don’t conquer the mountain," he observed.
Dan Martin, one of the authority’s three members and head of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, responded that his agency is "seeing the same thing" with search and rescue of more older people outdoors. "These are people in their 70s, 80s, early 90s," he said. "They give out . . . are ill-prepared."
"People look at Katahdin as a piece of cake [to climb]," Caverly told the park trustees at the fall meeting at Kidney Pond. But the mountain is formidable, and hikers of all ages should take it seriously and follow "good Boy Scout rules," he said.
Read more about the difficulty and dangers of hiking Katahdin and the Whites here: http://www.meepi.org/files04/pa102504.htm